Saturday, August 24, 2013

Start and End with God's Perfect Love

"1There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." (1 John 4: 18) Any fears that we have in our lives begin and end with our limited or expanding knowledge of God's love for us.

Growing in grace (2 Peter 3: 18) means that when we fail, we rest in the knowledge that God's love for us remains strong, and constant.

More importantly, God's love takes us from worst to first, all of the time.

Consider the three parables in Luke 15.

The Good Shepherd, which represents Jesus, forsakes the "ninety-nine which need no repentance" to seek, save, and celebrate the one who was lost, yet allows himself to be found.

The same is true with the woman, representing the Holy Spirit, who scours desperately for the lost coin out of ten, then calls her neighbors to rejoice.

Of course, the third parable illustrates the lavish love of God the Father, who not only permits the "prodigal" son to take his "share" of the inheritance, then waste the substance and suffer want, but rejoices with promotional grace and joy when the son returns.

The "perfect love" of God our Father, or rather our "Daddy" is greater than we can ever imagine. Point of fact, we never quite understand how good his love is until we start to see how bad we have it on our own.

Yet for so long, Christians will resist running and resting in God's goodness, preferring to help themselves to their own efforts, relying on their own devices, only to exhaust what they have on their own, and trust God to see them through:

"And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, 44Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched." (Luke 8: 43-44)

The woman with the issue of blood had spent all that she had, but when she chose to believe on Jesus, she was not only healed, but made whole of her plague.

In the same instance, every believer grows in grace to the extent that we believe more in His love for us. For this reason, Paul prayed:

"16That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
20Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." (Ephesians 3: 16-20)

The last thing that we must do, but the first that will make all things possible, is to gain a greater understanding of God's love for us:

"18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

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